Activism & Advocacy

Q&A: Terry Moore, 90-year old star

Oscar-nominated for her role in Come Back, Little Sheba 66 years ago, Terry Moore, 90, has just one dream left. She hopes to receive another nod for what might be her final role in the upcoming film,  Silent Life, Vladislav Kozlov’s drama about silent movie icon Rudolph Valentino,  set for release next year (learn more about the film here).

Hailing from the Golden Era of film, Moore has been in 80+ films.  She’s worked with legends John Wayne, Cary Grant and Burt Lancaster and became fast friends with James Dean, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.  Her romance with Howard Hughes led her to become one of the first female jet pilots. She has soared ever since.

Senior Planet:  What attracted you to Silent Life?

TERRY: I loved this story and there’s not many great roles for 90-year-olds.  I keep working. That’s the most important thing. I started when I was ten years old, working solidly for 80 years now.  If the roles are good, I won’t turn down anything. I love Vlad Kozlov, who offered me this role. He’s a wonderful director and writer. He’s the best I’ve worked with since Elia Kazan.

Senior Planet: Are you looking at an Oscar nomination for Silent Life?

TERRY: I’ve been nominated before – but Silent Life is the kind of role you could win for.

Senior Planet: You co-star with Isabella Rossellini in Silent Life. Did you know her mother, Ingrid Bergman?

TERRY: Yes. I worked with Ingrid in George Cukor’s Gaslight [1944] She looks so much like her mother.

Senior Planet: You certainly have worked alongside legends. Could you tell us about some of them?

TERRY: Jimmy Dean was nice but very dull. Today people think of Jimmy as a big a star as Marlon Brando – but if Jimmy had lived as long as Brando, he would never have touched Brando. He was a sweet boy but all he wanted to do was be like Brando. Elvis was a dream. I even sing a little bit of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” in Silent Life, which was my mother’s favorite song. Cary Grant flew my mother and me to Vegas to see Elvis perform. He sang “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” to my mother and put his scarf around her neck and kissed her. Elvis has just lost his mother whom he loved so much – so he gave all that love to my mother.  I adored Marilyn. We worked with the same acting coach and I would take her home to dinner with me because she was so lonely, like an orphan. She was much brighter than people realized. I never followed her ending because it was too sad for me.  I loved working with Tyrone Power, who was a Marine even though he never spoke about his bravery.  He shot down more Nazi planes in WWII than any other American. He was an incredible and beautiful man both on screen and off screen. (I was the No 1 pin-up of the Korean war and my greatest thrill was to entertain soldiers; I am the most patriotic person you will ever know.)

Senior Planet: You have been such a trail-blazer – not just career-wise but also as one of the first women to fly a jet plane. What drew you to the skies?

TERRY: The love of my life was Howard Hughes, one of the first men to fly around the world. He was fascinating. I always wanted to fly; building model planes as a child. And then I learned how to fly a jet. I wanted to be the first woman in space. I’d still do it if I was offered a chance.

Senior Planet: You advised Leonardo DiCaprio for his role as Howard Hughes in The Aviator?

TERRY: I’m crazy about Leo.  He’s such a dear person. These young actors today are just as wonderful as those I worked with in the Golden Era.  I loved working with Matthew McConaughey on True Detective. We remain good friends and had the same acting teacher, Penny Allen. When Penny was dying, Matthew stayed with her and got her round-the-clock nurses. We both visited every day and loved her to the end. She told Matthew he was going to get an Oscar – and told me I was too. I’m still waiting!

Senior Planet: What would you like your legacy to be?

TERRY: I think that kindness is the most important thing; to treat people as you would want to be treated yourself. And also not to gossip. Gossip is one of the most dangerous things in the world so I never do it. When you’ve lived as long as I have, you recognize that as a truth.

Senior Planet: What is your secret to aging with attitude?

TERRY: I was raised Mormon with no smoking or drinking. I had a healthy diet and played basketball. I exercise every day and do a twice-weekly boot camp and yoga. I also do half an hour daily on a track bike in my living room. You can stay young forever if you exercise and eat right.


Photo: Photo by:  David Roberson/Roberson PR (c) 2019 Roberson PR


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